Buddy Tate (ts), Pat Jenkins, Clark Terry (tp), Eli Robinson (tb), Ben Richardson (reeds), Sadik Hakim, Tommy Flanagan, Ronnell Bright (p), Wally Richardson (g), Wendell Marshall, Larry Gales (b), Osie Johnson, Art Taylor, Roy Brooks (d)
Reference: FSRCD 835
Bar code: 8427328608350
Mainstream fans will find this a pleasurable, compulsively swinging collection of the easy blowing sessions that Buddy Tate (1913-2001) made for Swingville. On Tates Date his huge, almost overwhelming sound is a reminder that, in 1959, surrounded by distinguished veterans and longstanding members of his group like Pat Jenkins, Eli Robinson, or Ben Richardson, he remained one of the greatest tenors of the swing era. And Sadik Hakim, the pianist on Charlie Parkers famous Ko-ko recording session, added a bop flavor to the Tate entourage.
On Tate-A-Tate, Buddy is joined by fellow former Basie-ite, Clark Terry. Both display a natural, easy grace in their soloing and offer a stimulating contrastTate with his dark, sinuously swinging lines, and Terrys sly, twinkling musical merrimenton an absorbing, succession of low-keyed musical tales. Buttressing their contributions is pianist Tommy Flanagan as a soloist and as part of an ideal rhythm section with Larry Gales and Art Taylor.
On Groovin with Tate, solidly backed by the rhythm group, Tate, occasionally doubling on clarinet, turns in full-bodied, logical readings of a programme of originals and standards, full of tenderness on the ballads and excitement on the up-tempo tunes.
"Jordi Pujol describes these tracks as a pleasurable compulsively swinging collection of the easy blowing sessions that Buddy Tate made for Swingville. And that's what they are. The front line on (1) was a regular one that played for dancers in Harlem. Indeed, Tate became the essence of Harlem. The band achieved a big sound when it played the simple but disciplined charts that made up its library (Blow Low is a good example). It had a fine trumpeter in from the little-known Pat Jenkins (who unfortunately stays that way because he doesn't get much solo space here) and some good trombone from Robinson. I suspect Thornton, who gives an excellent performance here, was just passing through. But the fat Texas tenor sound is front and centre throughout, and this is as good a collection of Tate's work as you'll find - except of course that any assessment of him should take into account his tracks with Basie. But there isn't a dud moment and the (2) and (3) tracks show him with a contemporary rhythm section. He was one of the mainstreamers whose style lapped easily in the more modern waters.
The quintet with Clark is a beauty. Terry and Flanagan were both at their best by this time and on Groun' Hog and A Train Clark holds the trumpet in his right hand and alternates with the flugel in his left - the first time this essentially visual trick was used on record. All Too Soon is a beautiful version to rival the classic one that Ben Webster did for Norman Granz.
The final session places the emphasis on the tenor, although there are some good solos from Wally Richardson. Tate is at his most relaxed and plays nice clarinet on Lucky So And So. He makes good use of a couple of Clark Terry's lesser-known tunes, The Salt Mines and Boardwalk. I'd expected to find this music a bit dated, but it isn't, probably because there's nothing complex here."
-Steve Voce (Jazz Journal, November 2014)
"If jazz were a meal, the Texas Tenor would be comfort food. Full of caloric fat and flavor, rich like chocolate, creamy like Mac n Cheese, it satisfies every mood and craving. Buddy Tate, who started his career with Count Basies classic band sitting next to Lester Young, was one of the first to perfect the warm glowing sound and vibrato. Here is a two disc set from his time at the famed Rudy Van Gelder Studios from 1959-61 where he teams up with some friendly swingers.
The 1959 Tates Date session has Buddy with Ben Richardson/bs-cl-as, Pat Jenkins/tp, Eli Robinson/tb, Argonne Thornton/as, Sadik Hakim/p, Wendell Marshall/b and Osie Johnson/dr . With that big of a small band, you get some hard hitting music such as the finger popping Moon Dog and a nicely jamming Me N You. Tate is a joy on Blow Low while Jenkins is full of surprising fun on No Kiddin. From 1960, Tate-A-Tate includes fellow Basie-ite Clark Terry/tp-fh as well as Tommy Flanagan/p and Larry Gales/b, and Terry steals the show as he switches horns back and forth on Groun Hog and take the A Train. Tate himself burns like charcoal embers on All Too Soon and is fun and cozy during Snatchin It Back. For the 1961 Groovin With Buddy Tate album, the leader brings in his clarinet for a superbly enjoyable and warm Lucky So and So while blowing a warm vibrato on East of the Sun. The team of Ronnell Bright/p, Wally Richardson/g, George Tucker/b and Roy Brooks/dr keeps things mellow and deep on Blues For Trix and then hit on the gas pedal and charge through The Salt Mines. Tunes like the funky Boardwalk and the riffing Overdrive are perfect for what they are set out to do-get you in the mood for a good time. Isnt that why you originally fell in love with jazz?
George W. Harris (November 3, 2014)
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